Causes of dry eyes and mouth and how they are linked


There are a lot of things that can cause dry eyes and mouth, but few things cause both of these symptoms at the same time. If you have dry eyes and mouth at the same time, this can help narrow the diagnosis.

Although these symptoms could be a sign of a few serious conditions, including Sjögren’s syndrome, they are unlikely to lead to a medical emergency. Read on to find out more.

Dry mouth and dry eyes can be caused separately by a long list of medical conditions, environmental factors, medications, and even lifestyle choices. But when they happen together and for the same cause, the possibilities are fewer.

Sjogren’s syndrome

Sjögren’s syndrome (pronounced as “show grins”) is an autoimmune disease that affects the glands that produce both saliva and tears. This chronic disease reduces your body’s ability to produce moisture and can occur on its own or with other illnesses.

There is no cure for this condition, but there are treatments that can help relieve the symptoms, such as eye drops. A doctor may also prescribe medications to help suppress your immune system, a moisturizing mouth spray, and diet and lifestyle changes.


Lupus is another autoimmune disease that can cause dry eyes and mouth. It can occur in spurts with periods of remission. The disease can cause inflammation throughout the body and manifest with other symptoms such as:

  • tired
  • joint and body pain
  • Rashes

Like Sjögren’s syndrome, it is a chronic, incurable disease, but the symptoms can be managed with immunosuppressants and medications to reduce inflammation.

Kidney disease treatment

The kidneys play an important role in regulating your body’s fluid and electrolyte balance, so kidney problems can lead to problems with your body’s hydration. People with chronic kidney disease or kidney failure who need to be treated with hemodialysis often have symptoms of dryness, including dry mouth and eyes. It is less a disease caused by kidney disease and more a symptom of treatment.


Diabetes develops when your body does not use insulin properly. Insulin allows your cells to use sugar – a primary energy source – but people with it either do not make insulin or their bodies do not respond to it.

When this happens, sugar begins to build up in your blood, and as your blood sugar rises, your kidneys work overtime to flush out the extra sugar and fluids. This can lead to severe dehydration. One of the first symptoms of diabetes is excessive thirst. This dehydration can also lead to dry eyes and mouth.

Diabetes is a chronic disease that develops either as an autoimmune disease or as a result of diet and lifestyle. There is no cure, and tight blood sugar control is the best way to control the disease and prevent more serious complications.

Intestinal or metabolic disorders

Several conditions affect the intestines and your digestion, which could lead to problems like chronic diarrhea. Inflammatory bowel disease (including Crohn’s disease) and irritable bowel syndrome can cause chronic diarrhea. Microscopic colitis can cause chronic diarrhea which can eventually lead to continued dehydration. When this happens, you can experience all kinds of dryness, including in your eyes and mouth.

Thyroid disease

Thyroid disease, like other hormonal fluctuations, can cause dry mouth and eyes. The thyroid is a gland that helps regulate hormones in your body. When you have thyroid disease, this gland malfunctions and you end up with too much or too little of these hormones, resulting in a wide range of symptoms.

Thyroid disease is a chronic autoimmune disease that is not curable but can be managed with medications to regulate your hormone levels.

Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a form of autoimmune arthritis that can cause swelling and inflammation. This can lead to redness or dryness of the eyes and even the mouth. This condition cannot be cured, but can be treated with immunosuppressive drugs. Physical therapy and lifestyle changes can also help you cope with symptoms.

Some conditions or conditions are not chronic or necessarily serious, but can still cause you to have temporary or repeated episodes of dry mouth and eyes.

Dry mouth and eyes when you wake up

If you have dry eyes and a dry mouth when you wake up in the morning, the culprit may be environmental. Check your sleeping area for drafts, fans, and other irritants that could dry out your airways and eyes overnight. You may also wake up with dry eyes or mouth if you have allergies, take certain medications, or sleep with your mouth open.

This problem can also be caused by conditions like sleep apnea which often accompanies mouth breathing, and lagophthalmos, a condition where you cannot completely close your eyes while sleeping.

Dry eyes and mouth at night

If you suffer from dry eyes and mouth at night, you’ll want to check your sleeping area first for drafts and irritants. Mouth breathing, allergies, and even some medications can cause dryness. You can also get dry eyes if you wear contact lenses during the day or spend a lot of time in front of computer screens.

Dry eyes, nose and mouth

Dryness in your mucous membranes like your eyes, nose, and mouth can be caused by many factors, but allergies and medications are a common cause. Some drugs that can increase dryness, especially in the eyes, nose, and mouth include:

Dry eyes and mouth during menopause

As with thyroid disease, hormonal changes can lead to dry mouth and eyes. Menopause is one of those changes. Not everyone has these symptoms, and they aren’t always permanent, but they are common.

Concomitant anxiety, dry eyes and mouth

Dry mouth and eyes also occur with overdose or poisoning. This is usually caused by the effect of the chemical or medicine to which you have been exposed.

Treatment of dry mouth and dry eyes can be relieved by hydrating, drinking fluids, or using eye drops. However, it only really helps when dry eyes and mouth are isolated issues. If these are symptoms of a more serious problem, like Sjögren’s syndrome, treating the underlying condition is essential, but symptom relief can still help.

Dry mouth and eyes are usually not a serious problem on their own, but if they appear with other symptoms or persist despite symptom management, it may be time to see a doctor. They could be the result of isolated problems with the eyes or mouth, or the result of a more serious chronic illness.

There are a lot of things that can cause dry mouth and eyes. These causes may not be related, but in some cases they can be a sign of a more serious or chronic illness. If you’ve tried eye drops and rehydration before, you may want to see a doctor to discuss your symptoms.


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